Hailing from Brooklyn New York, San Fermin is a baroque pop group whose latest album, Jackrabbit, is a sophisticated yet organic orchestral anthem that reflects on humanity. Despite identifying with a medley of genres (self-identifying as Indie Rock), San Fermin’s distinctive symphonic pop sound is never confused or lost. Guided by Ellis Ludwig Leone, a graduate of Yale Music School, their polished sound somehow never fails to find a way to feel authentic and approachable.
Though their previous self-titled album was a two-man show, Jackrabbit was successfully created by a developed eight piece group. The egalitarian nature of this album, with each member of the band getting their own spotlight, is a concept just as triumphant as their sound. Seeing a band where the importance of each member, despite not being vocalists, is equally distributed is refreshing and definitely empowers San Fermin’s sound as a whole.
Inherently poetic verses bring together the strong sense of energized purpose from the band, as well as creating harsh contrasts in songs between jubilant and foreboding sentiments. The 8th track, Woman in Red, exemplifies this distinction of brighter vocals accompanied by a darker side, such as the difference between the lines “when you go to sleep don’t close your eyes” and “in the minute, in a drink or two”. This theme of contrasts is also occasionally paralleled in the gender of the vocals. For example, the track Two Scenes has a distinct segregation of the female (Charlene Kaye) and male (Allen Tate) vocals in the first half of the song.
San Fermin’s instrumental interludes take on an inspirational quality, and indirectly seem to encourage adventure. Lyrics such as “We built a fort of lover’s teeth/and some of mother’s sheets” (The Woods) incorporate this adventure with the innocence of childhood. The frequent references to nature throughout Jackrabbit also help to maintain a grounded perspective.
Sprinkled throughout the album are powerful, high reaching, vocal stretches. Commanding and unwavering, they’re anything but the hollow sound that is frequently associated with higher pitches. The result of their incorporation in Jackrabbit is hauntingly beautiful while managing to not be overwhelming.
Overall, San Fermins reflection of classical music in a modern context conveys a sense of hope and promise, and will pull you under their waves of symphonies right when least expected.